Council chiefs say they are listening to the concerns of residents over the size of new recycling bags – but insist they must still be used in the meantime.

Lichfield District Council House
Lichfield District Council House

The move to a new dual stream recycling system has been launched across the Joint Waste partnership between Lichfield District Council and Tamworth Borough Council.

But it has emerged that some households across Lichfield and Burntwood have been receiving new blue bags for paper and card to be put in that are a third smaller than the 81-litre capacity expected.

But despite the issues, the local authorities say residents will still need to switch to separating out different elements into the new bags.

“The use of such bags to store cardboard and paper for recycling has been successfully adopted by numerous other councils, both within Staffordshire and across the UK.

“We are listening to residents’ concerns regarding the bag sizes and are working with our partner councils and the bag suppliers to ensure residents are given adequate recycling capacity.

“In the meantime, residents are requested to use the bags for paper and card as soon as they receive them.”

Lichfield District Council spokesperson

Councillors have also hit out after only finding out about the issue with the new blue bags when the initial story was published by Lichfield Live.

The issues have led to some calls for the cabinet member for recycling, Cllr Ashley Yeates, to resign.

A council spokesperson said:

“We are aware that some information was shared prematurely for which we apologise – this was human error and the contents had not been approved by the joint waste team or Cllr Yeates.”

Lichfield District Council spokesperson

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  1. Although they are too small I understand you cannot get a second one just yet. They are now asking us to put Tetra Pak cartons in the black bin and some people will have to put their excess paper and card there for landfill! They have declared a climate emergency and will now increase landfill – this makes no sense.

  2. Got mine this week. I’m broadly sympathetic with councils over recycling. There are lots of pressure on them, targets that have to be hit, costs are rising, funding is falling, rules changing and having to be adhered to. However, this whole affair has been appallingly managed, from the costings to the sizings, and the simple usability of the bags. From a “user experience” (I know) point of view the bags are rubbish (pun not intended). I don’t have enough space to keep the bag inside, it is going to be outside in all conditions. Trying to get anything in it is a nightmare, clasping my paper and cardboard in one hand whilst trying to get the bag to open up and fold out properly. If the bag isn’t full then it cannot be shut properly, obviously it has no rigidity so it maintains no shape. I cannot imagine trying to sell or market anything that makes the user’s life so much more difficult, yet it has been foist upon a population who very much didn’t want it.

  3. No – I and many of my neighbours, refuse to use my, ridiculously small, blue bag. It will lay empty month after month. I’ll just throw my card and paper in the grey bin.

    I used to love recycling but, this bodged idea from the council is just a complete joke.

    Increased council tax for less services, more corruption, and more incompetence

  4. No longer able to recycle tetra pack so that is about 10 a week or 520 a year from my house going to wherever the black bin content goes. That is planning from a council made up of idiots

  5. So tetrapaks can’t be recycled even though the actual pak says ‘recycle me’.
    This council is appalling, those responsible disgust me.
    We actually haven’t had the bag yet but when we do, I’ve a few elderly neighbours who will rely on others to drag their bag out.
    This is really bad. Councillors responsible are disgusting.
    We will vote you out you entitled nobodies.

  6. Totally confused now as what can go in the blue bin as according to the leaflet plastic bags now have to go in the black bin. Because if the awkwardness of the blue bag I am now putting much more in my black bag so I fear that my recycling will now be less not more as it should be.

  7. I’m doing it the other way round; I’m putting paper and card in the blue bin and glass, plastic and cans in the blue bag. Then, the night before the blue bin is collected I tip the contents of the blue bag into the blue bin, hiding all the paper and card.

  8. The bags are far too small. It’s ridiculous.
    Most of my recycling is paper and cardboard.
    And there’s obviously been no consideration for how the elderly/disabled will manage to drag a full bag out.
    And how cost effective will it be for the council to now pay for additional trucks, fuel and refuse collectors to collect just paper and cardboard?
    Because if we’re having to separate our recycling, surely it can’t still be collected by the wagon collecting the other recycling. Otherwise what’s the point in separating it in the first place?
    Additional trucks will have a detrimental effect on the environment and our already busy roads.
    I don’t think this idea has been properly thought out.

  9. I filled this ridiculous little bag by day 3 due to Amazon deliveries. The council advised me to stack the rest on top . Good luck picking that up after a week and a half as rain is forecast for most of the week.

  10. This council has not considered people with disabilities using these blue bags.I am disabled with mobility problems .It would be impossible for me to take the blue bag to the end of my property when it is full as I have to use two sticks for walking . And I will not be put myself at risk of falling over .

  11. I have limited hand mobility due to disabilities so for me using the bag isn’t going to happen. I will just have to use my black bin. It won’t be long before we need a different bin or bag for each item that needs to be recycled. I will recycle but how many bags or bins can our gardens cope with. My drive already looks like the local tip.

  12. My paper and cardboard will go in black bin congratulations to idiot councilors , where are we to store these bags ? Certainly not on our homes

  13. A potato could see this bag is not fit for the purpose. In addition, as they are the wrong size, was the order wrong or didn’t you check whether the items delivered conformed to the order and reject them when they weren’t as specified? It’s one or the other.

  14. The question is… Are the bags fit for purpose or not?
    If not that needs to be addressed.
    Doubtless mistakes have been made in their procurement which also requires open investigation. Most citizens think these changes are being imposed upon them including the sorting and storage problems.
    Our council seems to be accident prone. They seem to have lost sight of who they serve. It should not be this way. Public service implies a safe pair of hands.

  15. This fiasco has cost a great deal of goodwill. Even those of us who want to recycle realise this baggate will result is extra costs and less recycling.
    After reflection I am beginning to suspect that the situation will not be reversed.
    It is more important to LDC not to lose face. Extra cost and inconvenience to save someone’s ego.
    if paper and card must be separated, provide a wheelie bin.

  16. The streets are going to look awful. Some folk will be forced to store these outside. So many houses are too small to have storage for these extra bags within. Newspaper weighs very heavy any I certainly cannot lift and carry,so will have to drag. The bottom will soon have holes in it. Cardboard now requires a Stanley knife to cut it into small pieces, which requires strong hands and arms to manage the job. Hilarious when one observes the high number of homes for the elderly being erected . I despair of this inept group of Councillors. Perhaps the next election will give us more intelligent candidates. And hopefully we will remember this Council’s appalling record and give new blood a chance.

  17. I can’t believe that a Councillor within Lichfield District Council, still has a job, as these blue bags are hidious. If the 80 litre bags were agreed, how can a Company supply the wrong size and still get paid. Lichfield District Council is bad enough, state of roads are covered in pot holes, no shopping centre and is rapidly becoming a retirement City.
    I have seen this recycling, with bags, work well in Leamington Spa. But there are 2 Workers that constantly run on and off a truck emptying and separating the recycling.
    Question regarding LDC – if your blue bag gets blown down the road, with your address on it and cardboard and paper. I am sure that LDC will do you for Fly tipping????
    It is a shame that in this day an age, LDC has no idea, same as the Government. What an absolute mess this Country is in.

  18. It’s quite something to have spent such a lot of our Council Tax to discourage so many of us from recycling. Like others who’ve commented my bag is too small for all my paper and card, yet too big to fit in my smallish house, too flimsy to keep outside without everything getting wet, and too cumbersome to carry easily to the curb. So a quadruple whammy and it’s worth reminding ourselves that Lichfield DC has screwed things up for our neighbour Councils too. Wouldn’t it be great to have a Council (or MP) we could be proud of?

  19. The Council will never listen and I won’t be using them. To fill my blue bin with cans, plastics and glass is going to take months. It had only took 4 days to fill the blue bag. I’ve said before Ol’ Sparky the garden incinerator has been brought out of retirement and will be used on a frequent basis. Are you honestly expecting the bin men to unvelcro the bag, empty quickly the jam packed blue bag and then make sure the bag goes back to the correct household? 🤔 Matches anyone?

  20. Wait until everyone hears about the great deal people have got with a purple bin!
    No blue bag for them, a whole full size wheelie bin for paper and card, collected at alternating weeks from the blue bin. Now that’s how it should be done for everyone if they want to split it up!!

  21. Just a small question when the powers that be decide to scrap the blue bag which bin should we stick it in

  22. We moved here from Birmingham and in our bins there we had a separate black box that fitted inside the recycling bin so you put paper and card in that and all other recycling in the lower part. We had bags before those bins were distributed and they were forever blowing up the road so when coming back from work we were lucky if we got our bag back. These aren’t weighted either like being described in the pamphlet delivered. What an absolute waste of money and inconsideration for disabled people and people with mobility issues.

  23. We moved here from Birmingham where we had the recycling bins fitted with a separate box that sat inside bin but to the side for paper and card still allowing for all other recycling to be put in as well. Before that we had bags that when emptied blew up the road so when coming back from work we were lucky if we got our bag back.
    The binmen won’t be bothered to look at addresses on top of the bags to ensure they are put back to the correct house they don’t do it with the bins so why will it be any different with the bags?

    What an absolute waste of money as well as lack of consideration for the elderly, disabled or people with mobility issues.

  24. Get rid of them it’s that simple. Too small, not got for purpose, everyone has more cardboard than plastic. Everyone will put it in the black bin, council don’t care they won’t be fined for that.

  25. Lichfield and burntwood…..what about Tamworth we’ve got these POXY little bags as well. In an age where everyone orders offline how the hell are these fit for purpose, one delivery the bags full. Out of touch clueless council, sick to death of it.

  26. I’m surprised at the number of comments asking how the elderly will manage. A request can be made to collect bins/bags for the elderly, infirm or disabled.
    As for the lady who says she’ll put paper & card in blue bin as before then hiding it with plastics & glass on top may come unstuck as I’m led to understand the collections will be put into separate trucks.
    I’m not a fan of blue bags, big or undersized. Collecting it means walking to the garage where I have it stored each time there is waste or else live with an untidy, growing pile of paper & card in the house. I feel the usage of bin & bag should be reversed in terms of quantity disposal but moving the bag is always going to be awkward. Is a 4th bin the answer? Maybe but for those like us who have no rear access on the property it’s not easy to store a fourth receptacle of this size & the pink/purple is rather garish to have outside your home that you try to make attractive despite the council’s best efforts to spoil it.

  27. I’d forgotten how horrible velcro is, until the bag arrived!
    Bags are also too small, which makes them redundant after a week.
    Just filling the black bin with cardboard, I guess.
    I’d rather have a long row of different coloured bins, rather than multiple different containers out the front!
    Such a waste.

  28. Hi James, for Tamworth you’ll need to contact news providers that cover Tamworth to find out why they aren’t mentioning it.

  29. My blue bag is full after 2days this so called council with spend more money and time picking litter off the streets due to blue bag blowing away listening to the people we are not happy

  30. Bham city council have plastic inserts in their wheely bins for waste paper and cardboard,surely it’s a much better method than the ad hoc way Lichfield are doing theirs.

  31. These blue bags are pathetic. I’ve got severe arthritis in my hands and wrists. I can’t tear or cut cardboard up to get it in the bag. Even if i put cardboard at the side of the bin I’ve been told it has to be cut or folded because they won’t collect it if it’s in a large piece. What am I supposed to do. I won’t have any choice but to put it in my black bin which defeats the purpose of recycling. Nightmare!!!!

  32. After 3 days of Amazon & hello fresh box delivered new wonderful bag full,what a waste if time. But as we all know council won’t take a bit if notice if us council tax payers.

  33. Totally pointless mini bag, even if it was a large bag this collects germs and will blow rubbish all over the streets. I will not be using, paper and cardboard will go in my black bin .

  34. Just stick it all jn a black bag and put it in your bin…Lichfield council are a JOKE always have been always will be

  35. Well, I do not work for the council, have had no training nor PPE issued, not to mention any risk assessments, so I will not be working in a voluntary capacity for LDC, unless of course you show me where I have an agreed signed CONTRACT to carry out this work on your behalf ?

  36. Wouldn’t as smaller different colour weelie bin have been better than the bags,easier to use, empty, and keep the contents dry, the bags will leak at the edges as they don’t close properly until full. They would last longer as the plastic coating on the bags is very shoddy, ours is peeling at the edges and its only been here for 4 days !!!

  37. They want us to seperate our rubbish in a high rise block of flats , and been told our rubbish bin for the block won’t be taken if it’s not in seperate recycling , I find this near impossible as our caretaker has the bin cupboard locked ,and we can only throw our rubbish down the shoots , there’s 36 flats in our block , the council and there ideas , be some jumped up little university graduate no doubt justifying his job with these rules

  38. I think the dimensions of these bags were done by Nigel Tufnell.
    A true Spinal Tap, Stone Henge moment!

  39. Who is going to pick the rubbish up when it blows all down the road? Not me that’s for sure. The bags were supposed to be weighted, what with a feather? Stitching coming undone on day one. Did they come from the same supplier where Boris got the unusable masks? Or are they recycled masks? Either way a load of crap which costs me £2350 in council tax a year. I struggle for space in a detached property, where the hell are the poor people who live in a terraced house supposed to keep three wheelie bins and now a bag? Oh I know throw the three seater out and put them in the lounge. Well done moronic councillors. Bart Simpson would have made a better job of it than you lot DOH.

  40. At my terraced house I have one bin: Everything, including garden waste goes into it. I generate a lot less waste than my local corner shop, which doesn’t recycle any waste.

  41. I’m waiting to see whether the paper and cardboard is mixed with the other recycling in the same vehicle.

  42. Most of my recycling is card or paper, so this is utterly ridiculous.
    Also, there are things which are ‘recyclable’ that we are no longer allowed to put in either! Confusing and a waste of public time and money.

  43. @ Dean: You unfairly malign the lead guitarist of England’s loudest band. While Mr Tufnell indeed drew an outline ‘henge sketch on a napkin, it was clearly never intended to be the final design. It was Tap’s manager Ian Faith who decided to accept delivery of the Stonehenge set, even though the manufacturer only delivered a triptych 18 inches (instead of 18 feet) tall, and then to have a couple of little people dressed up as elves dance around a wobbly miniature Stonehenge on-stage as if this was entirely normal.

    While This is Spinal Tap may well be inspiring our council’s approach to recycling (and who wouldn’t be inspired by the lead act’s peerless dedication to their muse?), Mr Tufnell himself was largely blameless over the execution. It’s a fine line between clever and stupid, after all.

  44. Just seen the bin men having to empty the blue bags and bins. It took them twice as long as usual to do all this. The blue bags were emptied into a separate big blue bin that was attached to the refuse wagon but the poor binmen seemed to be having a lot of trouble getting this to work. Perhaps a councillor could move him or herself off their cosy chair and spend a day seeing just how hard these bin men all weather’s. And now the council have made their job even harder. Birmingham bin men are always on strike and they are not a patch on the Lichfield ones. Think on LDC !!!

  45. These blue bags are ridiculous! I am disabled & have mobility issues, plus putting blue bag in my blue bin, no room to keep inside. I am for recycling items, BUT sadly will put in my black bin. This has not been thought out, shame on Lichfield Council.

  46. I am disabled & have mobility issues. These blue bags haven’t been though out probably. No where to put blue bag, so in my blue bin! Am struggling to recycle items. I am all for recycling items but am struggling to do so. Really DONT want to put black bin but sadly will have to.

  47. The bags are appalling to use. It was 90% full by day 3, its also soggy and wet as the bag is a nightmare to seal shut.
    I hope you don’t have to recycle a certain amount of cardboard a month cause u certainly won’t be hitting target. Pretty much everyone I know has decided just to throw their cardboard into the black bin from now on as this is just a massive fail!

  48. Heard that the bin mem are putting the blue bags and the blue bins in the same van. Does anyone know if this is true ? The reason given was that LDC can’t afford the proper lorriex

  49. I wouldn’t believe this except it’s from a good friend who saw her blue bag being emptied by the bin men into a blue bin. The blue bin was then tipped into the lorry.

    This council is an absolute joke.

    Genuine question, can I order a second blue bin and use it for card & paper, it would be much more practical.

  50. So angry, today l was informed by the collectors today, l hadn’t cut my boxes small enough for them to take, as my bag already full! I have arthritis, am l expected to rip up thick cardboard? Has anyone thought of all the problems this will cause for disabled people? Also tiny bits of cardboard and paper just left by bin, err they might blow all down the road 😳

  51. Has anyone thought about the risk of ID theft if you’re putting letters or documents with personal details on those bags? A fraudster driving around overnight could collect lots of bags and fly-tip the unwanted papers. Not everyone has a shredder and simply ripping the paper up isn’t always sufficient to protect personal details.

    What a ridiculous idea this whole thing is.

  52. It does seem strange that the blue bin and bag had been emptied very early this morning. Two vehicles doing the round so early, or are the rumours correct about them both being emptied into the same vehicle? Surely not, after all the bullying to separate wastes? Ross – something for you to investigate methinks.

  53. Simon – You make very good point undermined only by the fact the scenario you describe could be avoided by simply not putting paper with personal information on in the blue bag. Rip it up, mix it up with the kitchen bin contents, or bury it in the garden, or soak it in water an chunk it in the kitchen bin. Use your imagination.

  54. Harry – Papier-mâché is an underrated hobby. Paper chains can be fun too. Perhaps a collage of news items of the day. Let’s not leave creativity to politicians alone.

  55. Yes Harry, very clever. My point is not that there’s no way around it, more that it’s open to this kind of risk. Ripping up and mixing is hardly fail-safe. It’s just yet more inconvenience for residents. These bags are easier to steal rather than people jumping in blue bins.

  56. I drove past one of the vehicles today.

    It appeared to have a fixed blue bin on the left hand side, that collected the paper from the bags. The right hand side took the plastics etc. The waste did not appear to be mixed.

    It did appear to take at least twice the time to empty the bins.

  57. The bags aren’t fit for purpose and neither on the available evidence is the council. If they can make such as mess of something as basic as this why would we trust them with anything more complex?

  58. Do we have to remove paper labels from tons and bottles before putting them in blue bin does anyone know? Instructions do not specify as far as I can see

  59. It would help me to understand why we are having to use the new blue bags.
    As a reason, I think LDC have put out a figure of £700k/annum extra cost to handle “contaminated” paper and card. Why the change at the recycling centre? Here’s a link that’s worth a look, it relates to the use of unskilled migrant workers in waste recycling.
    Perhaps these staffing problems have it home? Hmmm, I’m going to be a naughty boy here and mention Brexit. I’m sure the Tories on LDC won’t, lol.

  60. Meanwhile, here in my area of North Lichfield our bins haven’t been collected at all today….

  61. Instead of complaining, why don’t we all take our Blue Bags and return them to LDC, just drop them outside of the Council Offices.
    As we have paid for a Bag that is not fit for purpose, it is only right and proper we return them to the idiots that ordered them!

  62. After much cutting of cardboard with a knife, all fingers still present, and repeatedly standing on the bag contents, we put our bag out yesterday.

    For the first time is 7 years except due to weather, our bins have not been emptied.

    The additional time and therefore cost of this scheme has obviously not been given sufficient consideration. A shambles.

  63. I suggest all residents contact both Central News & BBC Midlands Today concerning this matter, highlighting the incredulous waste of Tax payers money & the incompetence of LDC in ordering the wrong size bags. Let the Council explain to residents, on live TV, how this bag ordering error was made & if the idiot who made the mistake is still employed.

  64. Well done Lichfield Council! I live on the St Mathews Estate in Burntwood and a little Summer Breeze is enough to see Cardboard and Paper being blown all over the road. As Councils now don’t pick up litter, fill pot holes,remove weeds from the roads… I can go on. I have been out this morning picking up the rubbish from these useless bags. What will happen in winter storms!! These bags need replacing with a bin. Another waste of money from this council. As i care about where i live i am constantly picking up litter from when the bins are collected normally, after this it will be my full time job i imagine!

  65. 6 days since last collection – bag is full with 8 more days to go. Ordered an extra bag from LDC [via website] early last week not arrived so only option now is black bin. How can LDC be so daft? Surely someone there tested the bags etc etc.

  66. Ah, what a shame. Today is bin day and we got our bins emptied and received our new blue mini paper recycling bag. It is already two thirds full after one night. Aside from that it’s more to store on our property, fiddly to use and will sadly mean more paper/card going in the black bin. So now I’m ordering an additional bag, the only thing we can do. Bin night will now mean putting out blue and brown bins as well as two recycling bags….do I get paid by the council for this as it feels a mini job in itself!? First windy day and after they have been emptied the roads will be covered in these things. Out of interest, when every house has two of these bags how long will it take the bin men to open and empty each one in order!?! There had to be a better way of doing this, I’d take another bin over this pants bag. Can you do an opt out for paper recycling with a reduction in council tax and I’ll take mine to Trent Valley myself?? Where has the common sense gone in the world…..??

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